The Los Angeles Angels said Friday that Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani has gone on the disabled list with an injury to his right pitching elbow.
The club said Ohtani was placed on the DL with a grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament, which reportedly indicates there is a partial tear in the ligament.
The 23-year-old underwent a PRP — platelet-rich plasma — and stem cell injection on Thursday and will be re-evaluated in three weeks for a course of care to be determined, it added. He is not joining the team for their three-game series against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis that begins on Friday.
Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka needed more than a month to recover after undergoing a PRP injection in 2014. Ohtani, who is listed on the All-Star ballot as a designated hitter, will not likely return on the mound for the first half of the season, and may miss July’s All-Star game as well.
Ohtani started on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals but exited after the fourth inning citing a blister on his right middle finger. Angel’s general manager Billy Eppler said Ohtani complained of stiffness in his elbow after his blister was drained and underwent an MRI.
(Angels manager Mike Scioscia talks about Ohtani’s elbow injury)
Eppler revealed that he hopes Ohtani will avoid Tommy John surgery, which requires more than a year for recovery, without denying its possibility.
“We’re hopeful that he can (avoid the surgery). This is completely treatable with the biologic prescription that the doctors recommended,” Eppler said according to mlb.com.
Meanwhile, Eppler added that he does not intend using Ohtani as a designated hitter so he can focus on his recovery.
“It was determined that any unique swing or variability could impose some small percentage increase in risk, so that’s why we’re going to give it the three weeks’ time period right now to further assess and then make a determination at that time.”
Ohtani also underwent a PRP in October before signing a deal with the Angels from Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters.
He has a 4-1 record in nine starts so far in his rookie year in the majors, holding a 3.10 ERA. As a DH when he doesn’t start, Ohtani has batted .289 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 34 games.